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View of Views

View of Views


Postby Craiging619 » Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:24 pm

Route description: Beinn a'Chrulaiste from Altnafeidh

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a'Chrulaiste

Date walked: 09/08/2014

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 6 km

Ascent: 600m

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Last year I was still car-less, and was severely restricted in my choice of hillwalking day trips from Glasgow as a result. After some deliberation through the week, I had a final check of the weather forecast on the Thursday night and just managed to book a Citylink bus at the Apex fare. My destination was Kingshouse, and I was hoping to see a view I had waited my whole life to see.

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That's not the view. It's a nice view, though.

The 10am Skye bus from Buchanan Bus Station set off in a mixture of sunshine and cloudy skies, conditions that continued for the long journey up to the White Corries Road End. I was happy enough with that, as my goal was to witness the incredible view of Buachaille Etive Mor from the summit of the Corbett opposite it, Beinn a'Chrulaiste. Curiously given its location, Beinn a'Chrulaiste doesn't seem to be a regularly climbed hill, and I hadn't seen too many photos of the summt view before. However, a cursory glance at the map suggested that it would give an unbelievable view of Stob Dearg directly across the glen. As long as the cloud cover was above 1022m, I'd be a happy man. :D

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The bus pulled into a queue of traffic at the Pulpit Rock roadworks, and sat for a few minutes...then a few minutes longer...then another few minutes... :(

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Before I knew it, a full HOUR had passed and we'd made barely 500 yards of progress. By this point I was looking somewhat nervously at my watch. Beinn a'Chrulaiste is not the largest of hills (and offers a 250m head start from the Kingshouse Hotel), but my descents tend to be slower than ascents, and I was hoping to fit in dinner at the hotel before the 7:47pm bus home. Finally at 12:30pm, the bus made it through Pulpit Rock and onwards to the North (the 25-year "temporary traffic lights" have since been removed and replaced with a shiny new road I see!)

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At 1:25pm I finally arrived at White Corries. The weather was looking grand and Buachaille Etive Mor stood proudly to the West, guarding the head of Glen Coe. Hopefully it was going to be my lucky day!

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After following the West Highland Way down to the hotel, I was ready to go. A gate at the junction of the Altnafeadh/Black Corries Lodge tracks led straight on across a flat boggy area on the fringes of Rannoch Moor. That was the other classic view I was hoping to see today: when I climbed the Buachaille in 2008, there was a blanket of cloud at the top, and other than the view from Beinn an Dothaidh in 2011, I had never really seen Rannoch Moor from above.

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Beinn a 'Chrulaiste is usually regarded in the guidebooks as a bit of featureless lump, but I've never quite understood why. It has a grand whaleback shape, and if it wasn't for Stob Dearg and Criese, I think it would be a dominant feature at the head of Glen Coe in its own right.

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Which brings us to our 'Most Random Basketball Hoop Of The Week'.

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I left the hotel at 1:50pm, with the way ahead looking very boggy at first: indeed, I don't recall there any full-on path for the whole route. It was nice to add a sense of wilderness to the day though, especially as I climbed from the busy A82 and under a line of gigantic pylons!

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Once past the pylons and 300m mark, the way ahead began to get a little steeper. Heavy cloud was now starting to swirl around the Buachaille and Criese, and there was a hazy faint rainfall spreading over Rannoch Moor to the Southeast. Luckily the worst of it was staying away from me, and if anything it added to the atmospheric views over the wilderness stretching from here to Rannoch and Bridge of Orchy.

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The map showed a mini-corrie opening up at about 450m, at which point I turned left to gain the East ridge of Beinn a'Chrulaiste. The rain was now sweeping across Rannoch Moor, briefly obscuring the view over to Schiehallion.

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Lovely stuff!

After another 100m of fairly steep climbing, the ridge suddenly became more defined and more straightforward as a result. In just a few minutes I would be at the summit, if the weather could just hold off a little longer...

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A bird's eye view of the Kingshouse Hotel.

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With the time approaching 3:30pm, I noticed the hill starting to close in a little, with a cliff edge to the right. Could this be the final stretch to the summit?

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YES!!!

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1 hour 40 minutes after leaving the Kingshouse Hotel, I reached the top of Beinn a'Chrulaiste and immediately faced South towards the mighty Buachaille Etive Mor. I had waited my whole life to see this view, and luckily the weather held up, with the swirling cloud, sudden bursts of sunshine and light rain adding to the occasion. It was a moment I'll never forget.

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Yeah, sort your hair out mate.

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The view also stretched South towards Bridge of Orchy and Crianlarich.

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After 45 minutes I had to tear myself away, as the rain was getting a tad heavier and dinner awaited at the KIngshouse Hotel. I considered going round the Northern edge of the mini-corrie, or even West down towards Altnafeadh, but I wanted to leave as much as time for food as possible before the bus home, so eventually scarpered back down the Eastern ridge.

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DInner was tremendous and not over-priced. The bar had a good buzz about it, with a mix of hillwalkers up from the Central Belt for the weekend and battle-scarred West Highland Way backpackers.

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Upon leaving the bar I bumped into a friend wandering about the car park! :D

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Eventually she went off in the direction of the Buachaille, leaving me to head back up to the bus stop.

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Meall a'Bhuiridh and Criese looked very inviting in the late evening sunshine. Next time...

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As dusk fell on Loch Lomond I thought back to the view of Buachaille Etive Mor from Beinn a'Chrulaiste, and felt incredibly lucky to live in a country with this sort of scenery on my doorstep. It's a cliche, but seeing somewhere like the Kingshouse Hotel with the might of Stob Dearg towering overhead really does our role in Scotland (and this planet) in perspective. Compared to Mother Nature, we're not up to much in the grand scheme of things, not really... :wink:

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User avatar
Craiging619
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 145
Munros:54   Corbetts:30
Grahams:27   Donalds:14
Sub 2000:17   
Islands:21
Joined: Jul 21, 2009
Location: Glasgow
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